Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), has argued that the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami’s opposition to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo was an act of insubordination capable of having him sacked.
Osinbajo had during an interview in April aligned himself to the position of a human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, that Magu’s appointment did not necessarily require Senate approval.
Angered with that statement, the Senate threatened that it was no longer going to confirm any appointment sent to it by the Presidency. It also demanded that Osinbajo withdrew his statement on Magu’s confirmation.
But Malami, who also is the Minister of Justice, was quoted to have said while briefing State House correspondents after last Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that Osinbajo’s statement that Magu did not need Senate confirmation was a personal opinion and not that of the body of ministers.
The Presidency later responded on the matter, denying that Malami said Osinbajo was on his own. It said that the Attorney-General’s point of view on the matter was that “decisions on Presidential nominations are matters for the Presidency and not the Federal Executive Council.”
However, in his reaction in a statement on Thursday Sagay said, “Malami was out of order because the constitution stated clearly that the opinion or decision of the President or acting President was final and could not be questioned by any minister.”
According to Sagay any minister who openly opposed the President or the acting President, deserved to be sacked going by Section 5(1) of the 1999 Constitution, which states that executive powers of the Federation shall be vested in the President, not in the Executive Council of the Federation.
He said, “The Executive Council of the Federation, also known as FEC, cannot have views that are separate or different from those of the President, or where applicable, the Acting President; otherwise, that will constitute gross insubordination and misconduct that can lead to dismissal.
“Therefore, the slant being given to the statement of the Attorney General of the Federation, namely; that the Executive Council of the Federation is entitled to meet in order to express an opinion or view on a matter on which the President or Acting President has already expressed his views or opinions is wrong, misleading and totally unconstitutional.”
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, also did describe Osinbajo’s comment as a ‘‘personal opinion.’’
Meanwhile, Osinbajo rather than withdraw the statement, while speaking through Kaduna State’s Governor Nasir El-Rufai at an event in Kaduna on Thursday, insisted that Magu will remain EFCC chairman so long as the current administration continues in power.